We started with a short briefing and some basic information about seasoning and flavouring, what to do and equally important what to avoid in the kitchen in order to achieve the best taste possible. A few things I did learn:
- Always use salt at the start of the cooking process; it will incorporate into the other ingredients so much better.
- Always use pepper at the end. Why? If you use it to soon it will lose its punch and your final dish will have much more “flat” flavour, lacking that peppery punch.
- Always season your food at the temperature it will be served and eaten… it will help you achieve the correct amount of seasoning if you are not following a precise recipe.
After we learnt a few basic tricks and had familiarised our self with the Cole & Mason product selection, it was time to get cooking… This part scared me a bit, Mark is the cook as you all know but to be totally honest with you I ended up totally enjoying every moment of it… even when I completely messed up my mayo and I had to start from the beginning, in public with people watching me, it was still fun… and to top it off I did learn a lot, I couldn’t wait to get beck home and impress Mark with my new found knowledge!
So we had all been set a few simple challenges. Standing there in my little kitchen I was told I needed to prepare a guacamole, a mayo and a pesto, “gulp”, I do believe my heart was racing and there was definite evidence of glowing . To make matters worse Rachel didn’t spoil us with a recipe, just a rough list of ingredients and something called a Pestle and Mortar, of which I have seen used but never used. So we all knew more or less what was supposed to go into a pestle and mortal… but we didn’t really have a clue about questions like should it be more or less of this ingredient… This was stressful for me but astonishingly for me real fun! All of us had the same ingredients but as we all used slightly different amounts of the ingredients and of course seasoned it to our own particular tastes inevitably all our creations tasted totally different. This was the most fantastic part… trying what others had created and comparing it to our own final product. 8 people in the room, 8 dishes which have the same name and are made from the same ingredients but ALL tasting totally different. What an eye opening…
After a few hours of crashing and grinding in our pestle & mortars energy levels were running low… as a reward we were treated to a fantastic lunch. Rachel had prepared for us a beautiful light salmon, roasted lamb and selection of roasted vegetables and fresh salads. If this wasn’t enough she served a totally unexpected pudding – black pepper cake with mulled fruit and fresh mint tea.
It was a great event, well organised and full of surprises. What a great way of learning something new.
A big thank you to John Lewis, Cole & Mason and of course Rachel Green… and all the other bloggers who attended this great event:
Katja from Ifhipscouldlie
Jacintha from Urban Pixxels
Georgie from Georgina Olive
Poppy from Poppy Loves
Chris from Tikichris
Rachel from Rachel Phipps
Lebinh from The Food Connoisseur